We hopped on the Long Island Expressway from our HQ in Greenpoint, Brooklyn to visit a former Brooklynite, Peter Treiber, who moved to the North Fork several years ago to try his hand at farming.
Read our Q&A below.
Photos by Maddy Tank.
Tell us a little bit about Treiber Farms. How did you guys get started?
My father, Peter Treiber Sr. started the farm in 2014 in the midst of retiring from the family insurance business. He was looking for land to grow on and to keep himself busy in the next chapter in life. I joined him in 2016 in the hopes of helping build this new family endeavor and to build myself a life outside the city.
You didn't grow up farming, and you lived in Brooklyn working in art and media production before moving out to the North Fork. Not the typical farmer's journey! What about farming appealed to you? And how has this shift in lifestyle changed your perspective?
What appealed to me about the North Fork and life on a farm was the time spent in nature and the drive to learn more about the food I ate. It is a cliche answer these days, especially for new farmers, but truthfully my diet in the city was heavy on sandwiches, coffee, beer and pizza. I had no clue what I was putting into my body. I spent some time on a few different farms starting in 2011 and the lifestyle really appealed to me. Food was coming from the farm to my face! With the lifestyle change, my perspective has shifted to a deep appreciation and respect of everything that comes from the land and the effort that it takes to produce one carrot, one egg, or one head of grain. On the pessimistic side of perspective change, I see how bad our food system is. We are trying our best to change the way we interact with our food and hopefully feed our immediate community.
What's the best part about living on the North Fork?
The best part about living on the North Fork is the land and the people that choose to call it home year round. I could never have called this place home without the folks in my community that support myself and our business. If you live out here full time you have a deep connection to the land, whether you work in agriculture or not.
What is your favorite crop to grow?
Tough question, but I have to say my favorite crop to grow is garlic. Here is why; it gets planted in late October or early November to be harvested the following July. The magic is in the months between. It is the first sign of life that you see in the depths of wintry March; little green leaves waving from a bleak brown landscape. In May you can harvest the young bulbs as green garlic, June is for harvesting the spicy garlic scapes and July is when you have fresh garlic right out of the ground. You hang them to dry for another month before you have the papery exterior you see at the market. Lastly, think about how many cultures across the globe use garlic. I'd say all the best cuisines do!
Farming is hard work. How do you decompress after a long day in the field?
I like to unwind after a long day with a dip in the Long Island Sound with my dog Peaches, sharing some beer and food with friends, a bonfire, books and some form of creative expression; writing, drawing or collaging.
How can folks get their hands on Treiber Farms produce?
If you find yourself on the North Fork, even if it is only for a weekend, you can order online at our website, Treiberfarms.com and pick up at our barns on Friday or Saturday. We also now operate a farm stand every Friday through Sunday, 10am-4pm in front of our old barn which is located at 38320 County Road 48, Peconic, NY. Folks can stay updated with our weekly newsletter and follow our instagram, @treiberfarms.
What's in store for the future of Treiber Farms?
The future of Treiber Farms is bright! We have wanted to steer the business to selling directly to people, as opposed to mostly wholesale to restaurants and we are well on our way this year. The online ordering and farm stand have been great! If you have followed us from the start, you've heard about or even attended one of our dinners, film screenings, concerts, art shows or some combination of all of the above. We started an artist residency with Cooler Gallery last year which we have named Cooler Ranch. It has and will continue to, facilitate artists staying on the property, building and creating out in the fields. The future is uncertain for a lot of us, but we continue to pull strength from all the fine people that support us. We cannot wait to open our doors back up! Stay tuned.